The 2023 MLB Winter Meetings is just around the corner. For the baseball fans who enjoy the business side of the game, this week is for you. It is a chaotic time with big free agent signings, massive trades taking place, wild reports that can become true or can be far from the truth, and the adrenaline of seeing what your team will do to improve.
The St. Louis Cardinals have a lot of work to do and cannot leave the Winter Meetings without any progress made towards the 2024 MLB season. Here are three bold moves the Cardinals need to make at the Winter Meetings.
Trade for a top end starting pitcher
No other position class is deeper than the starting pitchers this free agency. It is expected for many teams to be competitive in signing these players which sets up an aggressive market. Prices will be driven up and several teams will be overspending for arms which impacts the remaining players available. This is crucial for the Cardinals to act early. If pitchers like Corbin Burnes, Dylan Cease, Tyler Glasnow, Shane Bieber, Chris Sale, or even Sandy Alcantara become available, the return will become monumental for the sellers.
The Cardinals need to tap into this market and start offering their expendable assets quickly. They have many young controllable position players that bring much value to any organization. The Cardinals need to be negotiating these trades before the FA market thins out. Once it does, the sellers for these potential trades will have more leverage and can drive the asking price up, costing teams to over-sell for them. John Mozeliak would be wise to avoid overselling and to secure deals before any teams can catch on.
Signing at least one pitcher who they have targeted.
Many names have been linked to the Cardinals so far this off-season. FA names include Blake Snell, Aaron Nola, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Sonny Gray. You can touch base with all the players' agents and spend time thoroughly deciding which of the five you want to make an offer to. Or you can hard-set your choice on which of the five you want the most and aggressively offer them the contract.
With other teams creating a negotiation war, it will be hard to orbit the bigger markets if you give them time to. It is best to narrow down who you specifically want to be in the oration and propose a strong offer right out of the gate. If the Cardinals do not come out of the winter meetings with any starter to fill their number 1 or 2 spot in the rotation……expect the fans to be vocal. It will be very loud in Cardinals Nation.
Expect the unexpected
The Cardinals are never open and vocal about players they specifically want to target or pursue. The Paul Goldschmidt trade had rumors but were never concrete reports and the Nolan Arenado trade got linked for a couple of seasons with no traction but completed without any warning. With the winter meetings being a setting for all GMs present to talk business, it is a fast-paced environment. The Cardinals have enough player depth to make multiple trades and have money freed up to add to the salary budget.
While other teams are making the rumor headlines, the Cardinals will act as a sleeper team interested. Knowing how desperately the DeWitt family wants to save their company image and return to the prestige it holds, they will make uncomfortable moves they are not accustomed to. Players not expected, but they can sign in this realm would be names like Josh Hader, Cody Bellinger, Lourdes Gurriel Jr, and……..Shohei Ohtani? Players not expected, but they can trade for include Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo, Jonathan India, Gleyber Torres, and…..Mike Trout? It is the MLB Winter Meetings, you just never know what will go down.